Merci, Google! C’est génial! Vous méritez ma gratitude la plus profonde.
What are the chances of finding a long-lost relative in Paris after my father journeyed there, followed a number of leads, and returned home disappointed?
For as long as I can remember, Father spoke fondly of his first cousin, Madeleine. He had met her only once, in Paris, 1962. She was a teenager then. Her parents later reported she had a career in the movie business. Father longed to see her again, but on every Paris visit, Madeleine was unavailable.
In Cyprus, my parents named their third child after Madeleine. And twenty years later in France, cousin Madeleine passed away under mysterious circumstances. She was 39. By the time we learned this, Madeleine’s parents had also died. All hope of reconnection was now lost.
Guillot, at 22
1943 - 1982
In 1997, my father journeyed to Paris on a fact-finding mission. He wanted to know what happened to Madeleine. His first stop was the Armenian Church headquarters where he located the official record of Madeleine’s death. And there he discovered for the first time, that Madeleine had a daughter. No further details.
So Father sought other Elmadjians (our shared surname) in Paris. Someone should know the family... Every phone call yielded the same reply. Unknown. He returned to Cyprus profoundly disappointed.
Time passed. Life happened. In Cyprus. In England. In France, we knew there lived a young girl without her mother.
Enter the worldwide web, the fountain of fact and fiction. Knowing my father had given up hope of ever finding Madeleine’s child, I determined to test the source of all things known. I Googled “Elmadjian” and found links to a Stéphane Elmadjian, a film producer.
It was unlikely that Stéphane was related, as Madeleine had only one child, a girl. Plus, the surname of any child would not bear the mother’s maiden name, but the father’s.
After hours of chasing after French links, Google produced an email. I wrote. He replied. And over the past week, the mysteries unfold...
Stéphane Elmadjian is Madeleine’s only son, not daughter!
At 41, he is an award-winning film producer and editor. He uses his mother’s surname for all his work artistique, in honor of her memory. The lost has been Googled. And found. For real.